Search operation called off aboard Costa Concordia

Published: Dec 01, 2013, 08:42 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon |

Twenty two months after Mumbai waiter Russel Rebello went missing on the Italian cruise ship that sank in Tuscany, the Civil Protection Agency suspends search operations citing safety hazards for rescue personnel, leaving the Rebello family in despair

The Italian civil protection agency has called off the search operation inside cruise ship Costa Concordia at Gigilo island, thereby reducing hope of tracing missing crew member 32-year-oldRussel Rebello from Mumbai. It might be recalled that the liner hit a rock and sank off the Tuscan Coast, Italy, on January 13 last year. Thirty bodies had been were recovered from the wreck, but the only Italian passenger Maria Grazia Trecarichi and Rebello were officially reported missing.

Photographs of Russell Rebello and Maria Grazia Trecarichi on her coffin

In October this year, Italian divers searching the wreck of the sunken ship for Rebello and Trecarichi found a skeletal remain with grey shoes, leading them to believe that the remains were that of Rebello, who was seen in grey shoes, a grey sweater and black jeans on the day of the accident.

Kevin Rebello with Maria’s daughter Stefania and husband Elio at her funeral

Now, the autopsy and DNA tests have confirmed that the skeletal remains believed to be that of Rebello are that of Trecarichi. The Rebellos are dejected with the latest development. Kevin, Russel’s elder brother, said, “The Civil Protection Agency has decided to suspend the search operation after the rescue and research divers from the Army, Navy, Military and Special forces instructed them about the difficulties and risk involved. The ship may develop cracks while attempting to lift and tow it to the dry port for dismantling. However, before the ship is dismantled a search will be conducted to trace Russel’s body.”  

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